April 13, 2017

The Not-So-Blurry Lines of Social Media and PR

By: Jennifer Borba von Stauffenberg

There’s a lot of buzz in our industry about how social media is impacting public relations. At Olive, we believe social media is public relations. Like we always say, at the core of public relations is storytelling, which is exactly what media relations and social media experts are doing on the daily, the main difference simply being whom they are sharing stories with. In order to be truly effective in either media relations or social, you have to be committed and practice on the cutting edge, which is why they are two separate specialties at Olive – we feel it’s important for our teams to fully dive into their skillsets, because a jack of all trades never moves the needle. Instead, when it comes to strategic planning and execution, we take an integrative approach – we know, we know, everyone says that, but what does it actually mean?

Think of it like a band. The guitarist and drummer are on the same team; and despite the fact they strike different notes and strategies, they’re ultimately working toward the same goal: Beyoncé status stardom.

Here’s how Olive uses social and PR in tandem:

  • These days, some social media influencers are considered media. Followers are the new subscribers. This means we pitch bloggers and social influencers in the way we pitch journalists – that’s essentially influencer marketing. The difference is that we are securing product placement in a photo, social presence, account validation and giveaways, all working toward the ultimate goal of furthering brand recognition and sales. Sometimes the relationship is built by our social team, and sometimes the media relations team does the outreach. See, integrated.
  • A brand’s social media platform is essentially the live voice of the brand, as it engages with the public around the clock. Both media relations and social media teams need to maintain a consistent voice that is unified through all functions. Our social and media relations professional have such a clear vision of the brand voice, if we switched the two you’d hardly notice (well, minus the added use of hashtags in media pitches).

Storytelling doesn’t use just one melody. Sometimes stories are told with pictures, and yes, even hashtags. Social media isn’t impacting public relations, social media is public relations.